Chef's Recipes

Brandade soup with mussels

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for brandade soup with mussels from Four in Hand restaurant in Sydney.

By Colin Fassnidge
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 50 mins cooking plus curing
  • Serves 4
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Brandade soup with mussels
“I’d love to have a go at making Colin Fassnidge’s flavour-filled bream brandade at home. I first tried it at his Four in Hand pub in Sydney’s Paddington and loved the texture of the mussels and chickpeas, which lifted the soup from a starter into more of a meal.”
Jenny Schmidt, Potts Point, NSW
To request a recipe, write to Fare Exchange, , GPO Box 4088, Sydney, NSW 2001, or email us. All requests should include the restaurant’s name and address or business card, as well as your name and address.
Traditionally, brandade is a purée of salt cod, potatoes and olive oil. Chef Colin Fassnidge from Four in Hand has given it a modern twist with salt-cured bream.


  • 20 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Desiree potato, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 300 ml dry white wine
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
  • 300 ml pouring cream
  • ½ lemon, juice only (or to taste)
  • 12 black mussels (about 400gm), scrubbed
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 80 gm drained canned chickpeas, rinsed
  • ¼ tsp smoked sweet paprika
Salt-cured bream
  • 1 skinless bream fillet (170gm), bones removed
  • 80 gm rock salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 lemon, finely grated rind only
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper


  • 1
    For salt-cured bream, place fish in a non-reactive dish. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl, scatter over fish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until lightly cured, turning occasionally (5 hours). Wipe salt from fish with absorbent paper, cut into 3cm pieces and set aside.
  • 2
    Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat until foaming, add onion, potato and garlic, sauté until starting to soften (5-7 minutes). Add 200ml wine, reduce by half (2-3 minutes), add stock, cream and fish, bring to a simmer over low heat and cook until potato and fish are tender (25-30 minutes). Blend until smooth in a blender, season to taste with lemon juice and keep warm.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over high heat, add mussels and remaining wine and cook, covered, until mussels open, shaking pan occasionally (3-5 minutes). Remove any unopened mussels and discard. Remove meat from remaining mussels (discard shell and liquid) and keep warm.
  • 4
    Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add chickpeas and paprika, stir occasionally until warm (2-3 minutes), season to taste and add mussels. Divide soup among bowls, top with mussels and chickpeas and serve hot, drizzled with paprika oil.


This recipe is from the September 2009 issue of .

  • Author: Colin Fassnidge